Archive for the ‘Housing’ Category

Designing for Multigenerational Living

Thursday, August 16th, 2018

The number of multigenerational households in the UK is growing rapidly. Between 2009 and 2014 there was a 38% growth in this sector. Data prepared by @NHBC suggests that 6.8% of UK households are multigenerational, which is roughly equivalent to 1.8 million households.

Not everyone either wants or is able to move house when their family circumstances change. This can require an existing family home to be converted into a multigenerational one. Few standard house types are suited to easy conversion and even fewer have been designed with this in mind. The key is built in flexibility. That may mean a suitable spatial configuration, adequate structural redundancy and service connections for a future extension over the garage, rooms in the roof or a rear/side extension. Alternatively it can mean internal reorganisation to allow a larger space to be subdivided or a master bedroom and ensuite to be converted into a self contained annex. There are a multitude of approaches that can be taken as long as the intention is established early enough in the design process.

Illustrated below are two competition winning schemes that we have developed around multigenerational living. The first is the SAM House, based around the ‘Seven Ages of Man.’ It combines all of the strategies outlined above whilst also delivering semi-detached living in what appears to be a detached house.


The second was a proposal for a series of adaptations and extensions to a traditional home that enabled enhanced multigenerational living.

The ideas behind the house are captured in a hypothetical interview with the homeowner in 2050: 

What are some of your favourite memories?

What memories I have. We bought the house in 2006. House prices were over inflated in those days and we could only afford the house because of the partially completed fitout. We also rented the top floor until we gave each of the boys their own room in the roof. They loved being up there with a floor to themselves.

We have always loved the flexibility of the cavenous master suite. It was great to be able to retreat into our own space. I particularly loved sitting out on the roof terrace,discretely watching the boys playing in the garden below.

We regularly had friends to stay and put the guest room through its paces. We had been unsure the double entry bathroomwould work but found our visitors, and for many years my mother, loved it.

We had some great diner parties in those days. We loved showing off the telescopic dining room. When all the kids had gone off to university we realised just how important it was to be able to shrink and not just enlarge the dining room. Rattling around that space would have probably made us feel like it was time to move. So glad we didn’t.

What else did you like about the house?

I loved being in the kitchen when the kids were younger. They would lounge in thesnugplaying with their toys. As they got older we built a workstation and they would do their home work there. Eventually, when I set up my business, I used it as my office. It really was the heart of the house. I still love the way you can flow through the permeable ground floor. So much nicer then those old open plan layouts!

In 2015 food prices went through the roof. That was when we really prioritised cultivating the front garden allotment. What a great use of what was otherwise a waste of space.

In 2018 temperatures really soared and the way air was drawn through the house made such a difference. These days I realise that it’s the way the house works, rather then how it looks, that really matters… Those integrated systems must have saved us a small fortune over the years.

What about the future?

Well it looks like I’m going to be here indefinitely. I am moving up into the flat in the roof by myself now.  There is a lifted being fitted to make things easier for me. My eldest son is so looking forward to moving back in, this time with his own family! It really has been a house for life.

This is the critical issue. We must design houses for Life…..

 

Revealing the Sub\Urbia House – A super dense prototype terraced house

Monday, July 9th, 2018

At Snug we are always actively seeking to develop and refine new housing typologies that will help to solve the #housing #housingcrisis. As a company, our mission is to ‘create great places and prosper people’. This year we  have developed a new prototype high density terraced house. We decided to submit it to @BritHomesAwards Sunday Times readers’ choice home competition. It didn’t exactly fit the brief and so, perhaps not entirely surprisingly, it was not shortlisted. In our humble opinion the concept remains a thoroughly ground breaking approach to high density terraced housing. Now that the competition is over we are pleased to be able to reveal the design.

The Sub\Urbia House.

In summary, the Sub\Urbia House delivers high density housing at over 100dph without forfeiting the much loved character of suburbia. Our aim is to create a single house type that contains all steps in the housing ladder. High density homes where all ages, including families, would love to live.

Sub\

\Urbia

 

The Design Philosophy

We wish to live at low density but we must build at high density if we are to solve the housing crisis. To do this we need to build at urban densities in excess of 75dph. The problem is, British people don’t generally like living at higher densities. We love our houses and we love having a home with its own front door. The Sub\Urbia House squares this circle.

The proposal has the appearance and feel of the suburban places British people love, but at a density well in excess of 75dph. The Sub\Urbia House delivers 100dph without compromising any of the things we love about suburbia.

The key idea – We live between walls. The traditional terrace has party walls side to side. The Sub\Urbia House has both side and rear party walls. This unlocks the potential for an increased density and, as a result, it creates a two faced typology. One face, providing a pair of three bedroom family townhouses faces the more generous public realm, akin to places like Accordia and creates a modern suburbia. The other face provides a one bed city pad and 2no. two bedroom duplex units facing onto a more urban street. The result is a whole new urban condition, what we are calling urbia.

 

Our intention is to create the ultimate mixed tenure neighbourhood. Each 10m x 20m component contains 1 one bed, 2 two beds and 2 three bed homes. Five homes are provided within the plot. In this one typology we provide for the whole housing ladder to live. This results in the ultimate sustainable community where entry level flats coexist with aspirational family homes. Sub\Urbia would be the kind of place everyone would love to call home.

In addition to providing every size of home needed to climb the housing ladder the Sub\Urbia House provides plenty of proportionate outside amenity spaces, well related to living accommodation and daylight. The idea is both simple and sophisticated. The Sub\Urbia House takes a traditional Georgian townhouse and mews, retains the front garden and hedge, pulls back and stacks the mews, lifts the rear garden to the roof and pumps up the density.

The Sub\ House is a three bed family home that comes with a generous roof garden, dual aspect living room and private balconies off the bedrooms. This includes front garden located off the master bedroom, efficiently located above, and sheltering, the bin and bike store to form a covered porch.

The Sub\ House comes in two configurations. It can either be a generous family home with ground floor kitchen diner off a secure parking court/play space with generous living room and roof garden on the top floor or, alternatively, it can provide a live/work home with a ground floor studio space and top floor kitchen/dining/living space.

The \Urbia homes are provided with a generous balcony to each unit which overlook the street and evoke a multi-level sense of inhabitation prevalent to an urban street scene.

\Urbia is a ground floor entry level city pad, our fastest selling typology, with its private covered balcony/porch. Adjacent to this is the entrance to a pair of two bed duplex units. Alongside is a secure bin/bike store and electric carshare garage.

Urbia\ is about starting out and moving up the housing ladder. It is cost effective, efficient, urban. Sub\ is about settling down. It is elegant, stylish, spacious and sylvan. Together, both sides of the Sub\Urbia House create the perfect neighborhood.

As an urban layout it is flexible and can create multiple combinations of streets and squares. The intention is for every neighbourhood to be Sub\Urbia.

This is a concept that builds upon the nation’s innovative history of dwelling. So many variations of terraces exist, be it a Scottish tenement, a Tyneside flat, a Yorkshire back to back, a Mansion and Mews in London or a post war duplex. Sub/Urbia intends to evoke in some way all these typologies as inspiration for a new way of living that seeks to solve the housing crisis. It is high density land use without the high density character!

Construction

This is intended to be a mass produced typology that can be delivered by the traditional British construction industry as well as more innovative developers, willing to trail modern methods of construction. It is important to note that most domestic scale buildings, built between stacking party walls, can be built using any and all forms of construction.  The right choice is a matter of procurement and supply chains.

Depending on the number of units being commissioned the design is intended to be constructed either using off site  fabrication or, if volumes are low, using traditional forms of construction. Importantly this is not a frame building and it can be constructed using standard lintels and traditional materials. We are passionate about building houses that last. Speed of construction must not trump long life.

The superstructure for the first three floors is proposed as CLT and the primary façade material is brick slips, allowing speed/off site fabrication. It could just as easily be masonry and brick or blockwork and render.  More distinctive materials are then proposed for the expressive top floor living rooms and inset balconies. These are illustrated as zinc but could be timber or fibre cement panels. Our current cladding of choice is burnt larch. It is beautiful and does not require maintenance.

Internally the house provides efficient modern living with positive inside/outside connections, despite the single aspect configuration. The top floor living room is a delight. Lofty, dual aspect onto private amenity space and enjoying a wood bring stove. This is everyone’s dream garden room but up on the roof.

To find out more about this highly innovative house type please call the office. It is a highly versatile concept that could be applied or adapted to almost any modern housing development.

 

KEY PROJECT DATA

 Floor Areas:

3 bed townhouse – 113m2

2 bed duplex – 64.6 and 70.2m2

1 bed city pad – 40.3m2

GIA – 455.5m2 per 200m2 plot.

NIA – 401.1m2 per 200m2 plot providing over 200% land utilization.

 

Build costs:

Component cost – £730,125

Total build cost for 20 units – £2,920,500 (excludes economies of scale)

Average unit cost – £146,000/unit

Construction cost – £1,603/m2

 

Density:

Plot Density – 250 dwellings per hectare within the plot or 550 bedrooms/hectare

Place Density – 100 dwelling per hectare once roads and communal landscape accounted for or 220 bedrooms/hectare

 

The Exhibition Boards:

The Sunday Times Readers’ Choice Award_P869_4xA3 Presentation

Perseverance pays

Wednesday, May 30th, 2018

We won planning permission today for an exciting infill development in Portsmouth. It has been a long game…only took 4 years to finally get approval at committee! Perseverance clearly pays.

It is a great scheme and we are pleased to see that the negotiation with the LPA was worthwhile. Below are images of how the scheme developed through the negotiation.

Aerial view of originally submitted scheme pre-negotiation

Aerial view of the final approved scheme post-negotiation

Designing more than 1% of houses

Monday, March 26th, 2018

A quick review of the net housing supply data for last year reveals that we are designing over 1% of the office to residential conversions delivered under Prior Approval.  There were 17,751 in the year 16/17, up from just under 13,000 the year before. If we assume a similar number for this year we will have designed well above 1% of them. It feels good to be making a meaningful contribution to solving the #housingcrisis

A beautiful thing

Thursday, March 15th, 2018

Models of The Valley, Stanmore. A beautiful thing!

Prior Approval expertise

Thursday, March 15th, 2018

Snug Architects have built up a wealth of experience in the design and delivery of Prior Approval schemes. The conversion of offices to residential use under permitted development rights is delivering much needed new housing and quickly. It is also repurposing mid twentieth century buildings that are no longer viable as offices. This  approach to housing delivery has its challenges and certainly has its critics but there can be no doubt it is injecting new life into city centres at a pace that cannot be matched b y the new build development industry. It is also bringing forward some of the most low cost housing available. This is in part because it is free from the constraints of minimum space standards. The result is viable margins can be maintained at lower sale prices. Well designed this can provide essential entry level housing to the market.

We have either delivered or are in the process of delivering over 300 Prior Approval units across more than 15 developments. Here are images of two of our most recent projects.

Before

After

Before

After

 

Form Follows Force Part 2

Wednesday, August 9th, 2017

Here are the second batch of images on our new housing and apartment typologies. These images explore how a large scale settlement edge development can be sympathetically integrated into its setting, creating a humane settlement edge where people will love to live and impact is minimised. Let us know what you think….


Form Follows Force!

Wednesday, August 9th, 2017

 

 

At Snug we endeavour to create humane homes where people ‘love where they live’. Our architecture seeks always to respond positively to the forces at work upon it. These forces are derived from the characteristics of the site, the ergonomics of inhabitation and of course the clients business plan. Form follows force!

Two quotes that have always influenced our work. The first, Jorn Utzon in The Innermost Being of Architecture;

‘The true innermost being of architecture can be compared to natures seed, and something of the inevitability of nature’s principle of growth ought to be a fundamental concept in architecture. If we think of the seeds that turn into plants or trees, everything within the same genus would develop the same way if the growth potential were not so different and if each growth possessed within itself the ability to grow without compromise. On account of different conditions, similar seeds turn into widely differing organisms.’

In other words, in nature, form follows force.

Our signature design process, shrink wrapped function and the stealthed form, is a design strategy for a humane architecture. We have been refining the use of this technique to produce efficient housing layouts that respond to the forces at work on the project.

Be it the macro scale of walking around a large development, embedding and sculpturing forms into their immediate physical context or the micro scale of manoeuvring around a bed in a bedroom, we are always thinking about the way our buildings mould to the forces at work upon them.

When these forces align with the emotional requirements of the human; lighting; materials; familiar domestic forms; the design becomes not just for the human, the functional, but is for the humane, the force.

The second quote is by Steven Holl, from Anchoring;

‘Architecture is bound to site…Building transcends physical and functional requirements by fusing with a place, by gathering the meaning of a situation architecture does not so much intrude on a landscape as it serves to explain it.’

The places in which we live should help us live and orientate ourselves in the world. They should speak of who we are and how we hope to be.

We have sought to develop these ideas in the context of a series of large scale housing development, to showcase its effectiveness. We approached standard housing typologies, and applied our principles, sculpting forms that echo an arts and crafts contextual style through the contemporary use of asymmetry, chamfering, jettying, gables and pitching. This was completed by lowering the perceived scale of the larger units through stealthed forms, using rhythm in street scenes, defining lynchian nodes and routes and celebrating the edge of the sites through its relationship to its natural context, increasing its surface area and pulling views deeper into the site. The result are places that we would love to call home.

We feel we have produced a new domestic design aesthetic that is contextual, familiar and loveable. We would welcome your thoughts?

Settlement Edge

The Flats

Detached House

Planning won for Winchester’s largest social housing scheme

Thursday, July 27th, 2017

Snug have just won planning permission for Winchester City Council’s largest affordable housing scheme. The project consists of 76 new affordable homes at The Valley in Stanmore and forms part the council’s ambitious New Homes Delivery programme. The scheme was unanimously approved at Committee with councillors commending both the innovative design and the consultation process.

The scheme provid​​​​​​es a mixture of 2 and 3 bedroom houses and 1, 2 and 3 bedroom flats. The site nestles into the steeply sloping topography of The Valley and creates a new edge to the existing park landscape. The buildings are positioned in response to existing and proposed patterns of movement through the site, serving to reinforce views and vistas. The design utilises Snug’s theory of Shrink Wrapped Function to reduce the perceived scale of the buildings, soften their impact on the landscape and relate well to the human scale. The approach to the buildings form and appearance is derived from a contextual analysis of the existing Stanmore estate’s arts and crafts vernacular and results in a significant new development that sits comfortably in its setting.

The application was developed through a comprehensive process of public engagement with the local commun​​ity and will deliver much needed affordable housing for the city by realising the potential of an under-utilised open space.

This is going to be an exciting new addition to an established estate that balances design innovation with contextual sensitivity. It is great to have been part of a development that delivers housing whilst also making meaningful enhancements to the landscape in which it sits.

Planning secured for retirement housing in the New Forest National Park

Monday, May 8th, 2017

 

We are delighted to have secured planning permission for specialist property developer, PegasusLife’s first scheme in The New Forest. Situated in The Rise Conservation Area in Brockenhurst, within the New Forest National Park, the development will comprise 24 one and two bedroom apartments exclusively for those over sixty.

The apartments will be split between three villas and a coach house to transform the site of the disused Watersplash Hotel. Sympathetically designed to fit seamlessly with the local landscape, the development will also include cleverly designed internal and external shared spaces designed to help residents and neighbours to easily socialise and create a thriving community.

Commenting on the development, Howard Phillips, CEO, PegasusLife said:

“Brockenhurst is a beautiful place and we’re looking forward to creating homes that are right for the local area and will enrich the lives of the people who will choose to live within our development.

“Having revised the scheme, we are particularly pleased that the Planning Inspectorate has agreed on a proposal that preserves and enhances the character and appearance of this wonderful Conservation Area and is also respectful of the existing hotel building.”

The defining features of the site are the historic house, prominently fronting The Rise, and the mature planting, which features two veteran oaks. To ensure the new development complements the spirit of the surrounding area, the design is a contemporary interpretation of the arts and crafts tradition.

The new accommodation is formed from three new buildings, all subservient in scale to the refurbished and extended character property. Positioned in response to the site constraints, and to fully utilise the site levels, the new buildings have familiar forms and use local materials to achieve a locally distinctive feel to the development. Rather than standard balconies, Snug designed an interstitial space, between gables of louvered timber cladding with traditionally proportioned punched hole apertures and the more generous contemporary openings from the interior. The result is an outside space for each apartment that enjoys a playful dance of light and mediates the interface between modern apartments and this sensitive context.

Snug Architects design director, Paul Bulkeley, commented:

The design makes a progressive contribution to the New Forest vernacular. We worked hard to create a place that responds sensitively and creatively to the context, enhancing both the period property and character of the area. It will be a stunning place in which to enjoy later living.”

PegasusLife is on a mission to make a fundamental change in the way that retirement property is understood and delivered in the UK. In addition to a focus on desirable locations that appeal to those in later life, the business is committed to developing high quality, flexible, well-proportioned living accommodation. PegasusLife offers all homes on a 1000-year lease and will not charge customers exit fees. Property management is provided on a not-for-profit basis.

We are grateful to the team who worked with us to develop the design and secure what is a significant provision of much needed housing in the National Park.

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